What is Inequity?

What is inequity?

Inequity is being denied the right to determine one’s gender. In Anne Fausto-Sterling’s Sexing the Body, she heavily, and rightfully so, criticizes genital reconstructive surgery on infants. When a child is born with an ambiguous or unidentified gender, the first reaction of both parents and doctors is to “fix it.” But what are they really trying to fix?

Gender cannot be fixed for it is a social construction. Surgery may change a child’s biological sex, but it will not change his gender. Gender is a formulation of social, cultural and personal influences. Every child has his own gender. It is a creation of his environment and of his free will.

Determining a child’s gender for him is inequity. Inequity is being denied the right to choose and experience your own gender. Performing surgery on an infant to correct his natural, biological sex to fit society’s gender norms, as either male or female, utterly disregards the child’s right to choose his gender identity and forces the child into a life of physical and emotional pain.  As Fausto-Sterling says, “we protest the practices of genital mutilation in other cultures, but tolerate them at home” (79).

Why in a modern society do we continue to change the course of nature?

Fausto-Sterling, Anne. Sexing the Body. New York: Basic Books, 2000. 78-115. Print.


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